King Lear And The Tempest

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While King Lear was more of a focus on a Jacob-like character and the consequences of his actions, The Tempest is more of a focus on what an Esau-like character would do when confronted with the power they have over their brother. Prospero knows that part of the reason he is on this island is his fault because “And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed In dignity, and for the liberal arts Without a parallel; those being all my study, The government I cast upon my brother And to my state grew stranger, being transported And rapt in secret studies” (1.2.72-77). Like many other of Shakespeare’s characters, Prospero shirked his duty to his people and willingly let his brother take over. Now, Prospero wrestles with the fact that his …show more content…

Prospero’s forgiveness of his brother is set up so that he comes out to be the bigger person and to satisfy his ego, when his brother and the people who helped betray him should be locked up so that they won’t do it again. Antonio does not react to being forgiven, and Shakespeare does not tell the audience what Antonio is thinking now that he is seeing his brother after so many years. Of course, in a lot of Shakespeare’s plays, forgiveness is never reached after a betrayal. Such is the case between Don Pedro and Don John in Much Ado About Nothing and Hal and Hotspur in King Henry IV, part I. Both are also odd exceptions to the rule of brotherly betrayal. Indeed, we have a Jacob figure, Don John and Hal, and an Esau figure, Don Pedro and Hotspur, but in one case, the bastard is not out for his brother’s birthright, and in the other the brother is not just not a bastard or his enemy’s blood brother. While there is a clear betrayal between John and Pedro, it is odd to consider Hal the Jacob-figure in his story because Hotspur is the one doing the actual betraying. However, this is coming from the assumption Hotspur has that since he has become the best soldier, he should be allowed to succeed Henry when he dies. Don John wants to cause mischief and trouble for his brother. Like Edmund, he is discontent with being a bastard, but his ultimate goal during their time in Messina is to cause as much trouble as he can. He is quoted as

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